PTA Awards 4G Spectrum and License to Telenor Pakistan

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued 850MHz spectrum (3G/4G) license to Telenor Pakistan after it paid withholding tax of Rs 4.13 billion ($39.5 million).

Telenor had earlier refused to pay withholding tax of $39.5 million, i.e. 10 percent of the total auction price ($395 million) of next generation mobile services (3G/4G), while terming it unlawful, baseless and based on a gross misinterpretation of provision of the law. Telenor had filed petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the federal government including FBR and PTA.

After hearing Telenor as well as the federal government, Islamabad High Court had reserved the judgment, however later the telecom company reached the Court while pleading that it may be allowed to pay the withholding tax, Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah told this correspondent here on Friday.

After getting court’s nod, Telenor deposited $39.5 million to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the latter (FBR) subsequently issued Non-Objection Certificate (NoC) to PTA for issuing 4G license to the company, said Chairman PTA adding that the license has been issued and Telenor can now provide 4G services in the country.

It maybe recalled that Telenor was only bidder in 850MHz spectrum auction that PTA held in June 2016 and hence it was awarded 10MHz block from 850MHz spectrum at a price of $395 million.

Chairman PTA further confirmed that Telenor has already deposited half of price, i.e. $197.5 million while the remaining 50 percent will be paid in five equal annual installments along with cumulative mark-up @ LIBOR + 3 percent from effective date of license to date of payment.